British Library project discovers two new words – thanks to Guardian readers

It’s not every day you discover a new word, or at least a new meaning for an old word. But when the Guardian asked its readers to contribute their favourite dialect words, it discovered not one, but two.

“Webs” and “trabs” – both of which can mean trainers and were contributed from Liverpool – were just two of the dialectal words and phrases contributed by Guardian readers following an article about the British Library’s Evolving English WordBank.

You can see the whole article here.

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We proudly announce …

… the publication of the second major collection of papers from the Bridging the Unbridgeable project, which appeared yesterday!


Thanks to all authors for their wonderful contributions: copies are on their way and should reach you soon. We also very grateful to all the people at OUP who helped to make this publication possible. And for anyone interested in the book’s topic: please order your copy from OUP.

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HUGE recommended

A first mention of the HUGE database, in the journal Copypediting: thanks to Lauren Nalls for telling us about it!

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French language watchdogs say ‘non’ to gender-neutral style

And another piece from the UK Guardian, here.

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Resistance to changes in grammar is futile, say researchers

A review from the UK Guardian yesterday: “Linguists say that random chance plays a bigger role than previously thought in the evolution of language – but also that ‘English is weird’”, available here.

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A which hunter at it again

I just proofread an article of mine which had been copy-edited, in the process of which all my whichs (and some whos) had been changed into thats! Copy-editors tend to be anonymous, but I bet this person was American. Another which-hunter caught!

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-lily adverbs: one last attitudes survey

To put the final (well, almost final) touches on my study of usage guides and usage problems, I decided to have one more survey, on the acceptability of –lily adverbs. These are words like cowardlily, ghastlilyheavenlily, livelily, lovelily, lowlily, manlily, mannerlily, scholarlily and statelily, which several usage guides claim should be used since all adverbs should be marked by –ly, even if the adjective concerned already ends in –ly.

Microsoft Word, as I saw in the chapter I'(re)writing, only accepts the form livelily. What do readers of this blog think, are these forms acceptable or not? Please let me have your opinions, and fill in the survey — the last one for my book, I promise!


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